Operators of a local poultry processing plant announced this week that it will spend $340,000 in Cherokee County to help in coronavirus pandemic expenses.

The money is part of $1.5 million that Pilgrim’s, which operates at plant off Univeter Road in Canton, is spending in communities around Atlanta.

“On behalf of the whole Pilgrim’s Canton team, I’m very proud to be able to partner with our hometown in this important way,” Canton Complex Manager Brian Wright said. “The Hometown Strong initiative provides us with an opportunity to invest in our community during a critical time while looking toward the future.”

Cherokee County Community Services Agency Director Bryan Reynolds added, “Cherokee County values our partnership with Pilgrim’s. Their contributions to Cherokee County and our citizens remain strong even during unique and challenging times. Their generosity is proof of their commitment to our community.”

Three areas were chosen to receive some of the $1.5 million. The initiative is designed to support the community’s future and help respond to needs resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic. Company officials are working with local leaders to identify where the money can best help meet both immediate and longer-term needs in the areas of food insecurity, community infrastructure and well-being and COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts. Specific projects will be determined by the end of the year, with community members able to send suggested investment proposals to hometownstrong@pilgrims.com.

The production facility in Canton employs 700 people with an annual payroll of more than $23 million, while also supporting 113 poultry growers, paying out more than $17 million each year for their chickens, company officials said. Over the past six years, Pilgrim’s Canton has invested more than $14.7 million in capital improvements to its facility.

This announcement comes on the heels of a statement from the company that it would be investing $3.5 million into the state of Georgia to help communities respond to the coronavirus threat and invest in the future.

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